Endangered Sports: Five of the Most Unusual Sports from History

Sporting events around the world are perhaps more popular than ever. Franchises, players, and television networks rake in mountains of money every year from eager fans following their favorite pastimes. But what of the sports that are a little less known… and a little more weird? Some like Lacrosse have survived over the centuries, becoming more and more popular over time. But others start out small and stay small. Here are some wacky sports played in the past, that are beginning to die out.

Endangered Sports Five of the Most Unusual Sports from History 2 300x211 Endangered Sports: Five of the Most Unusual Sports from History

Chess Boxing

Created in the 1970′s by brothers James and Stewart Robinson, the sport is a hybrid of chess and boxing. The brothers were avid enthusiasts of both activities, so they decided the best way to make use of their two loves was to combine them both. In a chess boxing match, the competitors alternate rounds between boxing and chess. The bell rings, and the boxers leave the ring to become chess masters. The match can be won by knockout, checkmate, or judge’s decision.


Wife Carrying

This is a traditional Finnish sport called Eukonkanto, which translates literally into “wife carryingā€¯. There’s not much more to it than that. Each male participant carries a female participant hanging upside down from his neck, while running an obstacle course. The winner receives his wife’s weight in beer, which only seems fair.


Solo Synchronized Swimming

Featured in the Olympic Games from 1984-1992, the this sport consists of a single person in a pool, water dancing to music. One would think they might have dropped the word “synchronized” from the name. Not surprisingly, Solo Synchronized Swimming was not a hit with Olympic spectators.


Pistol Dueling

Pistol Dueling was an Olympic event twice, in 1906 and 1912. Like the previous entry, the name of this sport is somewhat confusing, as there is no actual dueling involved. Instead, contestants paced off at either 20 or 30 meters, whirled around, and shot at a mannequin wearing a frock coat, with a bulls eye on its chest. Why the frock coat was necessary is anybody’s guess.


Equestrian Long Jump

This Olympic event was held only once, in 1900. The Equestrian Long Jump is exactly what it’s name describes– a rider attempts to get his horse to jump the greatest distance. The winning leap was by Extra Dry, ridden by Constant van Langendonck, of Belgium. Their distance was 6.10 meters. By comparison, the human long jump world record is 8.95 meters. The event was discontinued quite quickly.


So, as we cheer on the basketball and football teams of the world, let’s remember the more obscure, slightly strange, but no less determined athletes. Who knows? With new science supplements and vitamins, maybe the Equestrian Long Jump can return to the Olympics.


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